16 Replies Latest reply on Jun 25, 2013 8:10 PM by MW Design

    Data merging one off elements

    PhilllAU Level 1

      Hello. I've been trying to figure out a way I can solve the following problem, but I'm not that proficient with iD yet. I have the following layout structure:

       

      Big title

       

      Small title

      Copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy

       

      Chapter 1: Something

      Copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy

       

      Chapter 2: Something else

      Copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy copy

       

      This needs to repeat... but not always in the same way. For example; I might not have another 'big title' each time. Now I can find a way to repeat the chapters as they're always the same, but how do you do titles in between these repeating regions where another big or small title is needed?

       

      Thanks

        • 1. Re: Data merging one off elements
          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

          I'm afraid I don't understand what this has to with Data Merge?

           

          All I see here is pretty straight-forward placing of text using paragraph styles.

          • 2. Re: Data merging one off elements
            PhilllAU Level 1

            They need to repeat via data merge + a CSV file

             

            Just imagine that there is a TONNE of data here, all the same, but in between some of it I need to insert titles.

            • 3. Re: Data merging one off elements
              MW Design Level 4

              I don't think you can get there from here (so to speak).

               

              It is difficult for me to conceptualize the CSV file structure. It is easier for me to "see" the XML structure working.

               

              Who is producing the source file? Is it in Excel or another spreadsheet application or a database already?

               

              Mike

              • 4. Re: Data merging one off elements
                PhilllAU Level 1

                Basically we want to have a CSV file that people who don't know how to use inDesign can use... they send us the file, we hit 'data merge' and the entire document is done

                 

                At the moment there is no actual CSV file, this is what I'm asking about to see if there's an easy way to structure it that will work.

                 

                If it were just heading + copy, heading + copy, heading + copy.... and so on, that'd be easy, it's inserting pieces of content in between that I can't figure out

                 

                Thanks

                • 5. Re: Data merging one off elements
                  MW Design Level 4

                  If you can make a spreadsheet, it can work as an XML file. But your clients would need to be very, very careful about what cells got what data. I can see nothing but trouble with a spreadsheet and not having any control over how they input data. Which would mean a lot of post-processing on your part.

                   

                  You can do this in Access or another database application. But then they too need that application. Then an ID template file could be used to import the XML output from the database that has the tags set up and mapped to styles and that would accomplish what you are doing (I think).

                   

                  If you want, give me a couple minutes and I'll upload something using your sample text above. Let me know.

                   

                  Mike

                  • 6. Re: Data merging one off elements
                    PhilllAU Level 1

                    That would be great!

                     

                    If I could see a working structure it'd help immensely


                    Thanks

                    • 7. Re: Data merging one off elements
                      MW Design Level 4

                      Headed for dinner. I'll check back later.

                       

                      Open the ID file. Use the File | Import XML menu command. Should import into the frame on the page and be formatted.

                       

                      http://www.wenzloffandsons.com/temp/PhilllAU.zip

                       

                      Take care, Mike

                      • 8. Re: Data merging one off elements
                        MW Design Level 4

                        I uploaded another ZIP file. I think it would be an easier workflow for your clients.

                         

                        The ZIP contains an Excel file just in case you want to see how it would need to be formatted. But it also contains a Word file.

                         

                        In the word file, there is your sample data I altered for the previous XML ZIP archive. In the Word file, I removed all the non-used paragraph styles. They should map to ID's styles from the previous archive file.

                         

                        Just start a new ID file. Load the styles from the ID file for the XML example. Place the Word file--but make sure you show the import options. Make them appear like the screen shot:

                         

                        capture-000373.png

                        You should end up in the same place as with the XML import.

                         

                        I think giving your clients a Word document with limited styles would be far easier for them. The net result is the same.

                         

                        I would only go the XML route if you are using a database or there is some other reason unclear from what has been presented.

                         

                        http://www.wenzloffandsons.com/temp/PhilllAU-2.zip

                         

                        Take care, Mike

                        • 9. Re: Data merging one off elements
                          Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                          In all honesty, I don't see why you want to use either Data Merge OR XML. This is the kind of text that looks like your users would do in a word processor, and I suspect that a Word file could be placed and processed using a battery of scripts on your end without the need for the client to be "expert" in anything at all.

                          • 10. Re: Data merging one off elements
                            PhilllAU Level 1

                            Except for the fact that you can't custom style word pages the way you can in inDesign, using variables/custom variables, various master pages witch large vector graphics, and other advanced functionality that isn't present in Word

                             

                            MikeWenzloff, thanks for the examples, I will try them now

                            • 11. Re: Data merging one off elements
                              Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                              You're right. Those things belong in your ID template into which you flow the word files....

                              • 12. Re: Data merging one off elements
                                PhilllAU Level 1

                                I have no idea what you're referring to

                                 

                                All I could find on Adobe sites in relation to populating documents was data merge with CSV files

                                • 13. Re: Data merging one off elements
                                  Peter Spier Most Valuable Participant (Moderator)

                                  The most common method of setting text is to create a document, then "Place" an external text file, either retaining embedded styles, discarding styles, or mapping embedded styles to new styles in the InDesign document. The next most common method is probably typing directly into a text frame, and then copy-paste from a text or word processor file.

                                   

                                  Data Merge is a very specialized, and primitive method for getting structured data into a document from an external file. It works great for things like address labels and directories, even corporate business cards where the format stays the same, but the names change.

                                   

                                  XML is much more sophisticated and is commonly used for automated book production, among other things, and could well be what you need if your writers are filling out some sort of form, but if they are presenting less structured writing I think you may be barking up the wrong tree. XML needs to be very carefully structured to work. It's not the kind of thing that your average office worker, college professor or wannabe author has mastered.

                                   

                                  I don't reallyunderstand waht your goal is here, or where the data or external information comes from so I could be way off-base. I suspect if this is some sort of large enterprise type of operation that InDesign Server, along with a bunch of scripts to process the incoming text, would be worth investigating.

                                   

                                  If you don't have a basic understanding of templates and the ID workflow, I think you should consider doing a bit of studying. Sandee Cohen's Visual Quickstart Giude to InDesing is an excellent place to start,

                                  • 14. Re: Data merging one off elements
                                    PhilllAU Level 1

                                    Actually... now that I've messed around with it, word docs are probably the way to go. I didn't realise you could just place a document in a text area that spans multiple pages. It carries the formatting + images over perfectly. This is great.

                                     

                                    Thanks

                                    • 15. Re: Data merging one off elements
                                      PhilllAU Level 1

                                      One last question, is this possible?

                                       

                                      To have my content like this in Word:

                                       

                                      http://www.coflash.com/stuff/worddoc.jpg

                                       

                                      But to have it display like this in inDesign?

                                       

                                      http://www.coflash.com/stuff/indesigndoc.jpg

                                       

                                      Could you not do that by mapping styles somehow?

                                       

                                      Thanks

                                      • 16. Re: Data merging one off elements
                                        MW Design Level 4

                                        Yes, but there will still be scripting, Find/Replace and or grep styles involved. Plus some manual tweaking.

                                         

                                        capture-000381.png

                                         

                                        Mike